Dan Crowley, the most prolific passer in Towson State history, formally joined the crowd of quarterbacks vying to be Tracy Ham's backup with the Baltimore Football Club yesterday.
If it comes down to pure passing ability, Crowley should hold his own against Canadian Football League veterans Shawn Jones and Len Williams, the team's offensive coordinator said.
"Neither one of those guys is ahead of [Crowley] in the ability to deliver the football with pace and accuracy," said Steve Buratto, the coordinator who also will coach the quarterbacks this season.
"He has as strong an arm, if not stronger, than most quarterbacks in the league. . . . He's very accurate, both on the run and in drop-back."
Baltimore announced the signing of Crowley, 6 feet 1 and 180 pounds, during a wide-ranging news conference at a Towson hotel yesterday. He signed the one-year contract, with an option year, on Friday.
He'll compete for the backup job in training camp with Jones, Williams and Matt Rodgers. Jones started one game. Williams, signed in the off-season, completed 58 percent of his passes for 1,222 yards and 10 touchdowns in a limited role for the Las Vegas Posse. Rodgers, from Iowa State, was on the team's practice roster a year ago.
Crowley, who played at Hyattsville's DeMatha High, is Towson State's all-time passing leader with 8,900 yards and 81 touchdowns. In 40 games at Towson, he averaged 222.5 passing yards and 7.61 yards per pass attempt. He went 22-13 as a starter.
Still, he had to participate in three tryouts before getting an offer to sign.
"They said they didn't want to sign me [just] because I'm from Towson State," Crowley said. "I felt the same way. I want to have an opportunity to play, not be a local name for the team to sign."
In other developments yesterday:
* Shortly after the CFL postponed the dispersal draft of Las Vegas players, Baltimore owner Jim Speros said he expects Orlando, Fla., businessman Norton Herrick to complete a purchase of the team today. Speros said the team will continue to be a publicly held company, and that Los Angeles investors Glenn Golenberg and Marshall Geller would continue to own stock.
* Baltimore will train at Towson State again this summer.
* Baltimore named Larry Desautels director of ticket operations, replacing Paul Blaber.
* Stadium director Jobie Waldt has begun pulling up the old turf at Memorial Stadium. It will be replaced by a Tufcote Bermuda grass with an improved drainage system.
* The team signed a one-year contract with East Coast Parking Associates to manage game-day parking at the stadium.
* Free-agent center Mike Kiselak, who played for the Sacramento Gold Miners last season, appears to have ruled out signing with Baltimore.